Entertainment

The Greatest TV Characters of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
1.2M votes 58.5k voters 706.6k views 1,607 items

List Rules Only fictional characters created for television programs

List of TV's most memorable characters, of all time, chosen by the Ranker community. What makes a character live on in the public's memory, even years after the original run of their respective TV programs? In some cases, it's the amount of depth that the show's writers, actors and other creators were able to bring to the character over the course of many years. For many of the greatest TV characters of all time, audiences feel like they get to know personalities like Dexter Morgan from "Dexter." Even after the show leaves the air, they may not want that relationship to end. (Thankfully, they don't have to, as many shows live on for years after their cancellation on DVD and in syndication.) The best TV characters are ones that you feel like you know and that you'd want to be friends with.

TV has brought many famous characters to life who have been extremely compelling, even if they are not entirely likeable. Viewers may not wish to know dangerous, shadowy figures like Tony Soprano, Vernon Schillinger, and Omar Little in reality, but following their exploits safely from the comfort of your living room can be appealing. Likewise, people who might be aloof or downright unpleasant in real life - think "Mad Men's" Don Draper or Al Swearengen of "Deadwood" - can prove charming, even admirable, when seen at a distance, with the subtext and intricacy that a top long-running TV show can provide.

Who is the greatest TV character ever? This list contains the names of the greatest, most fascinating, and most enduring fictional characters from TV of all time. Be sure to vote for your favorites, and if some of your favorite popular characters aren't represented, go ahead and re-rank the list to contribute to the discussion.
list ordered by
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26
Dexter Morgan is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Dexter, Dexter: Early Cuts, Dexter Universe
27
Jean-Luc Picard is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek Generations, Star Trek: Insurrection
28
Jerry Seinfeld is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Seinfeld
29
Phoebe Buffay is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Friends
30
Scooby-Doo is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Scooby-Doo! Pirates Ahoy!, Scooby-Doo, Chill Out
31
Eric Cartman is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
South Park
32
Sheriff Andy Taylor is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Johnny B added The Andy Griffith Show, Return to Mayberry, Return to Mayberry
The Andy Griffith Show
33
Barney Stinson is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
How I Met Your Mother
34
Will Smith is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
35
Kermit the Frog is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy
36
Dwight Schrute is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Office
37
Al Bundy is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Married... With Children
38
Elaine Benes is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Seinfeld
39
Tom and Jerry is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Pots and Pans
40
Ron Swanson is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Parks and Recreations
41
Arya Stark is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Game of Thrones
42
Bender is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Futurama, Futurama
43
Jon Snow is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
yankeesmdfan added Game of Thrones, A Song of Ice and Fire
44
Batman is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Batman Beyond, Young Justice, Batman
45
Daenerys Targaryen is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Game of Thrones
46
Sophia Petrillo is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Golden Girls
47
Fox Mulder is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The X-Files, The X Files 2, The X-Files
48
Mr. Rogers is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
49
Stan Marsh is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
South Park
50
Daryl Dixon is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Walking Dead